Governor Hassan Joho has been handed a political lifeline after the High Court barred the State from prosecuting him over claims of forging academic certificates. The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) had also accused Joho of evading tax. But yesterday, the High Court barred the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) from prosecuting Joho and ruled investigations against him appeared malicious and politically motivated.
Justice Eric Ogola noted several State agencies had descended on the governor in recent months for no other reason but malice. He said it was apparent action taken against Joho was designed to destroy his political career and bid to defend his seat in August. Government agencies “All alleged investigations by the Government agencies have a political ending in my observation,” said Justice Ogola.
He said investigations over Joho’s academic certificates had “become comical in the manner they have been displayed in the public domain.” Several agencies – KRA, Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) – have jointly or separately been investigating Joho over tax evasion and forgery claims. They have been looking into his tax records, primary and secondary education and even his birth certificate.
The investigations started early this year after Joho publicly differed with President Uhuru Kenyatta over Jubilee’s development record in the Coast region. They appeared to gain momentum after March 13 incident when the police barred the governor from leaving his office, travelling in his official cars and attending the ferry launch by the President.
Later, KRA obtained orders freezing the governor’s bank accounts temporarily over claims of evading tax. Joho was summoned to record a statement over alleged forgery of a Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education certificate bearing the name Ali Hassan of 1992.
On March 31, the High Court ordered that Joho should not be arrested or charged. Joho also filed a petition his rights we being violated. Justice Ogola barred the DPP from arresting, charging and prosecuting Joho until the petition is determined.